BruceSmith78 wrote:I don’t watch anime, but if I didn’t know any better I’d think you were joking. Gendo, the guy who created this board, took his user name from that show. I’m pretty sure Eva Yojimbo also took his username from that show. The only posters left here are huge Evangelion fanboys, from what I’ve seen. They’ve discussed it plenty. Just type Evangelion in the search field in the top right corner of this board, for fuck’s sakes.
Well DA my man, the truth isDerived Absurdity wrote:Wow, I didn't know Rax was that big of a fan of the show. Seriously, Rax, why have you never said anything before?
In my defense they're basically the exact same instrument. Its all hunks of wood with strings attached.Gendo wrote:I love those violin parts though. And it’s a cello.
It behooves any critic of The End of Evangelion (EoE) to preface their review by informing viewers that they shouldn’t watch this film prior to having seen the 26 episode TV series that precedes it. The film is confusing enough with the series, and positively incomprehensible without it. The reason for its existence at all is fascinating and controversial. Initial theories were that it existed to placate outraged fans after the series’ ending (EoTV or “End of TV”), which stripped away the narrative that had been developed for 24 episodes in favor of characters directly analyzing their broken psyches through various philosophy/psychology 101 themes. It was then brought out that the film was actually the originally planned ending, but EoTV had to be substituted due to budget, time, and (perhaps) censorship problems.
Whatever the case, EoE stands as the pinnacle of the series and Hideaki Anno’s directorial artistry—as dense, difficult, spectacular, spellbinding a piece of fiction as has ever been crafted for the screen; but how does one consider it in light of EoTV? Throughout this review I’ll write as if the works are complimentary, as that’s the majority view amongst fans and the one that I, personally, think is best accounted for by the evidence. The film begins right where ep. 24 ended, after Shinji Ikari (Megumi Ogata—I’ll skip the English voice actors as the English dub should be avoided) has killed Kaworu Nagusa, sending him into his mental breakdown. After the death of the final Angel, SEELE has sent an elite attack force to Nerv in an attempt to commandeer Eva Unit 01 to initialize the apocalyptic 3rd Impact and Instrumentality. While under attack, the comatose Asuka (Yuko Miyamura) is placed inside Unit 02 in hopes to keep her safe, while Misato (Kotono Mitsuishi) sets about trying to rescue Shinji. Meanwhile, Gendo Ikari (Fumihiko Tachiki) is attempting to use Rei (Megumi Hayashibara) to activate the mother of mankind, Lilith, as his spurned lover, Ritsuko (Yuriko Yamaguchi) goes to confront him.
The film is split neatly into two halves, even utilizing ep. 25 and 26 title cards to emphasize their relationship with EoTV. The first half contains everything up until Asuka’s battle with the demonic Mass Produced Evas—set surrealistically to Bach’s ethereal Air from Orchestral Suite #3—and Shinji’s discovery of the battles aftermath once he’s inside Unit 01. But it’s truly the film’s second half that’s garnered the majority of criticism and controversy. Third Impact—essentially Evangelion’s version of the apocalypse—is played out as vividly and bewilderingly as any sequence in film history, as inexplicable, mind-blowing moment follows inexplicable, OMG!!WTF!!?? moment in a perpetual stream.
A rough rundown of events goes something this. Firstly, the Mass Produced Evas (MPEs) unleash the power of their S2 engines, uncovering the Black Moon, which is also the Egg of Lilith. After Unit 01 appears, the MPEs immediately assimilate with her, presumably to use her connection to Black Moon to usher Earth’s souls into it. After Rei returns to Lilith (her original self), she takes over the process, overpowering both the MPEs and 01 with her AT Field. She does this in order to give Shinji the choice of whether to live or die. At this point the film’s first surrealistic scene occurs, as Shinji finds himself in a symbolically rife playground, and then in the kitchen with Asuka. After Asuka’s refusal to help him Shinji’s utters the nihilistic line: “everybody can just die.”
Those words trigger the completion of 3rd Impact and Instrumentality—the latter being the joining of all souls into a “collective unconscious,” a return to the ur-womb of Lilith, where all individuality ceases to exist. The sequence is accompanied by a song entitled Komm Susser Tod (Come Sweet Death), a J-pop modified version of Bach’s song for solo voice and continuo. It’s as surreal a combination as one can ever see in film—the overwhelming horror and beauty of the apocalypse backed by “the most uplifting song about depression ever,” as one of my fellow EvaGeeks put it. Next we delve into the dream logic realm of Instrumentality, a state where Shinji gets to experience this “nothing” existence. After the most explicitly metafictional scene in the film—a shot of the theater and audience at the premiere of Death and Rebirth—Shinji decides to reverse his decision, resulting in the equally vivid dissolution of Instrumentality at the hands of Unit 01 and the return of Shinji to a now completely barren reality
If I had to point to one objective reason why I feel Evangelion is amongst the greatest works of visual fiction ever created, EoE’s epilogue, titled “One More Final: I need you,” would be it. In the span of 3 minutes writer/director Hideaki Anno manages to consolidate every motif, every symbol that has been utilized throughout the 25 preceding episodes of the series, doing so almost in complete silence, with only Asuka’s “Kimochi warui” line, her “bad feeling,” breaking the silence and ending the film. While its density merits an entire essay itself, I’ll try to analyze it as succinctly as possible here, as I feel it cuts to the core themes behind the film and entire series.
The first three shots consist of the bifurcated Lilith/Rei head, Misato’s cross necklace nailed to a telephone pole, and the seemingly petrified MPEs, all of them standing as symbols of what has been “sacrificed” in order to bring this reality about. The cross especially has encompassed the themes of a burden, sacrifice, death, and rebirth that are central to the series and film (one of the reasons the religious symbolism isn’t mere “visual fluff” as some skeptical critics like to claim). Misato’s cross has a particularly nice progression, beginning with Misato’s father’s sacrifice of his life to save her during Second Impact (this is how she receives the cross), to Misato sacrificing herself to save Shinji in EoE. Perhaps Shinji’s nailing the cross to a telephone pole is a symbol meaning “message received.”
The next shot consists of the red ocean washing up on the shore—a prime example of one of Anno’s synthesized, polysemous symbols, not unlike Wagner’s usage of compound musical motifs through Ring of the Nibelungs. Water has symbolized origins, the beginning: the first shot of the series and film is of water, the first Angel emerges from water, Rei—Lilith, the ur-mother—is always seen swimming. Water also symbolizes death: Shinji begins EoE after a failed suicide attempt in drowning, Asuka’s suicide attempt is inside a bathtub, Tokyo-2 is underwater. Red has symbolized reality and the emergence towards individuality and maturation. This is typified through Asuka being Shinji’s “love interest.” As Rachel Clarke once observed, EoE could be seen as Shinji leaving “Mother as the First Other”—Rei/Lilith—for his “Significant Other”—Asuka). Red is also found where that reality becomes overwhelming: the finale of ep. 3, Shinji running away in ep. 4, JA going berserk in ep. 7. Therefore, by combining the “red” symbol with the “water” symbol we have the beginning of a new, but incredibly harsh, reality, a Neon Genesis. Lest anyone doubt this interpretation, consider that the very first shot of the opening theme is a blue ripple becoming a red background, and in ep. 20 Shinji emergence, his “rebirth,” from Unit 01 is accompanied with another transition from blue ripple to red frame. Finally, the shore makes for an apt symbol too, itself being the meeting place between water and land, between origins and that new life.
The red ocean segues to the red streak across the moon. Similar to the ocean, the moon has always been associated with Rei and, consequently, with Lilith, the ur-mother, beginnings, etc. The red streak was actually caused by Lilith’s death, the blood from her neck squirting across the moon like a rainbow. So the symbol is, again, densely packed with meaning. It suggests the end of death, the end of fantasy, childhood, our original being. It echoes back to what Rei said in ep. 14 about being a woman that doesn’t bleed, which suggests menstruation and, consequently, the “birth” into reality (and what is birth if not the death of our original state of existence?). It also suggests the death of Rei/Lilith herself, the triumph of reality over fantasy, of individuality over collectivity.
We finally then get our first overhead shot of Asuka and Shinji on that beach, bathed in a harsh, white light, appearing minimized against the background, as if they’re still vaguely floating in the dream world of Instrumentality. Asuka’s eye and arm is bandaged after being damaged during her grotesque battle with the Evas where a spear pierced her eye and split her arm. The bandages themselves echo back to Rei in ep. 1 and Shinji in ep. 6, perhaps being a symbol that “damaged souls (eyes are frequently equated with souls) make damaging choices” (hands symbolizing choices, as I’ll go into a bit later). Then, there’s a tight two-shot of their hands, then back to the red-streaked moon, then the camera tilts left and cuts to a shot of Shinji’s head turning. We realize we’ve been viewing the moon from his perspective—a perspective transition that echoes back to ep. 2, appropriately titled “The Unfamiliar Ceiling,” about not feeling at home, now with the implied meaning of not feeling at home on Earth, in reality.
Then we get a more apparent perspective shot as Shinji sees a ghostly, floating Rei out over the red ocean, echoing back to the spectral Rei he saw in episode 1 after arriving at Nerv. It remains one of those inexplicable mysteries of a series, with some calling her “quantum Rei,” the omnipresent gaze residing over the characters. Then there’s a cut back to Shinji’s face, a cut back to an empty ocean, and a low angle shot behind Asuka. Then Shinji sits up, slowly looking and realizing she’s there. A cutaway to the red ocean shore, another cut to Lilith’s hand and two silhouetted telephone poles, bent in half, with the former being a foreshadowing of what’s to come, and the latter symbolizing the breakdown in communication throughout the series (as ep. 1 announced the arrival of the first Angel we see through the reaction of telephone pole wires).
After a cutback to the red streaked moon we finally get a long shot of Shinji mounted on Asuka, his hands around her throat. A medium shot of Shinji, eyes obscured (echoing the film’s beginning), a close-up of Asuka’s shocked reaction, a close-up of Asuka’s bandaged hand twitching, a cut-back to the long shot, and Asuka reaching towards Shinji’s face and we get a close-up of her caressing his cheek. Shinji slowly releases his grip, and tears fall on Asuka’s face from Shinji’s eyes, as he slinks down, weeping on top of her. Finally she looks down to acknowledge him before delivering the film’s final lines “Kimochi Warui” as the film cuts back to the wide shot.
Kimochi Warui was translated as “how disgusting” by the English translators, but the term is much more ambiguous. The literal meaning is “bad feeling,” which, depending on the context, can mean “I feel sick,” “how disgusting,” “this sucks,” etc. with all kinds of subliminal connotations (as one of the English commentators suggested morning sickness). It’s also a line that echoes back to Shinji’s first words when entering the LCL of the Eva, and, like so many elements in EoE, creates a rich circularity of things ending where they begun. One could just as easily read a wry metafitional commentary there, as if Asuka's words are really meant to be those of the audience, expressing a laconic, bewildering disgust over everything they've just witnessed.
Much more interesting than the line, in my opinion, is the attempted strangulation and caress. Many have speculated as to why Shinji is strangling Asuka, with theories ranging from: “he hated her and was trying to kill her,” to: “he was testing to see if he was really back in reality, if she was real, and if pain existed.” For me, the motif of hands, their association with life, death, decision, and hope, has been perhaps the most elaborately developed throughout the series and find their culminating expression here (as with every other symbol, but none so condensed into minimalistic, monumental significance).
It would be laborious to trace every instance of the symbol, but it’s enough to note that strangulations have been associated with death throughout, from 01 strangling the first Angel in ep. 2, to Unit 04 strangling Unit 01 in ep. 18, to Shinji strangling Asuka to start Instrumentality in the film. Meanwhile, open palms have always been associated with life, from Rei’s blood in ep. 1 (blood being related to LCL, the origin of life), to Shinji’s semen in the opening of the film (another “origin of life” symbol), to the Doors of Guf—the gateway for the souls—being placed inside Lilith’s palms. Lilith herself, we’re told, symbolizes hope in ep. 24. Meanwhile, Shinji’s clenching and unclenching of his hands throughout the series has seemed to stand for decision and indecision.
So what does all of this add up to in this final scene? In my estimation, it’s the central theme of the series in that life and death are in our hands, they’re our choice, but hope can only exist while we’re alive (something Yui as Unit 01 says explicitly in the film). The actions themselves embody this: Shinji strangling Asuka does indeed symbolize death, his attempt to return to the comfort of Instrumentality, as it was his strangling of Asuka in the surrealistic, Pre-Third Impact, kitchen scene that brought about Instrumentality to begin with. Asuka’s caress, however, is the antithesis to this “death drive,” or “Thanatos” as Freud called it (a term that shows up more than once in NGE, from the button Ritsuko pushes to destroy the Rei clones in ep. 23, to the title of the closing song of EOE). Her open-palmed caress echoes Yui’s caress to Shinji during the dissolution of Instrumentality. Perhaps more obliquely, it echoes the open-palmed images of Lilith into which all the souls on earth flow during Instrumentality, as well as Kaworu “reaching out” to Shinji with open palms during the prelude of Third Impact.
You may say, perhaps, that that’s an awfully simple (if not downright cliched) theme to be expressed in such a convoluted manner, but the extraordinary thing about NGE and EoE is its ability to dramatize the simplest of themes, taking them to the zenith of experiential meaningfulness. It’s one thing to SAY “life and death are our choice, and while we’re alive there’s hope,” and it’s quite another to craft a narrative that take us through the apocalypse with painfully real characters to the point these themes feel profound to us because we feel as if we’ve lived them, not merely learned them dryly and intellectually. What’s more, such reductionism can be applied to any number of great works of art: Hamlet can be reduced to “life sucks and the only reason we don’t kill ourselves is because we fear death;” War & Peace reduces to “there’s an invisible force, God, controlling the actions of man, as man clearly doesn’t control their own by will;” Tristan und Isolde reduces to “love is an illusion and our will can only bring death and despair.”
Yet I don’t believe that reducing these symbols to their simplest, most fundamental meaning is accurately representative of just how rich they are. However much they may “mean” what I’ve stated above, their usage in the context of the narrative disallows for such easy resolutions. In fact, further analysis of the hand motif reveals other associations, significances, and even ambiguities.
The example of the hand motif in ep. 1 has Shinji standing over Rei with Rei’s blood on his hands. I stated earlier than this blood is a symbol of life because of its association with LCL, yet blood is often more commonly associated with death, and the fact that he’s standing over Rei, the series’ character symbol for death, origins, and the mother, it becomes even more ambiguous. Likewise, consider the instance of the hospital scene in EoE in which Shinji masturbated over a comatose Asuka. While Asuka does represent the polar opposite of Rei, and semen is an obvious symbol of sexual maturation and individuality, if one takes in the full context, including Shinji’s implied suicide attempt (the wet hair in the beginning of the film; I don’t think he’s been for a relaxing swim), is not his masturbating yet another attempt to escape the harshness of reality? Carefully tracing the latter point further we can read more of Anno’s metafictional theme (more on this later) about Otaku culture, whom have undoubtedly escaped reality by masturbating to idealized images of their favorite female anime heroines.
Apart from the further associations and contexts of the symbols, one can also see this richness and ambiguity by analyzing the tonal qualities of these scenes; what is the overriding tone of “One More Final: I need you”? Some have said it’s abject despair, while others find optimism in it, with Asuka’s caress suggesting that because they’re alive and together, things will be alright. For me, the truth is actually more complex and substantial than such a simplistic either/or.
First, to understand the significance of the film’s final scene one has to juxtapose it to the surrealistic happy ending of EoTV, where Shinji emerges from the enclosed theater into a blue world with the entire cast telling him “Congratulations!” Both endings are the polar opposites of each other. EoTV is happy, talkative, collective, bathed in blue, and spatially/temporally disoriented; EoE is depressing, laconic, individualistic, bathed in red, and spatially/temporally suffocating in its solidity. Indeed, One More Final contains some of Anno’s starkest usage of establishing shots that fix us in the linearity of space and time, powerfully contrasting the dream world of Instrumentality where time and space are never established and always violated. My interpretation is that EoTV ends while still inside Instrumentality (even though it’s after Shinji’s revelation that he can, indeed, live in reality) while EoE ends in reality, effectively showing us what happens AFTER Shinji’s revelation in EoTV.
When taken together the two endings show the dualistic states the series has insisted on between fantasy/collectivity/death and reality/individuality/life. The former is comforting because it’s so unreal, because it’s ideal, because without being an individual separated by others one can’t feel pain and hurt and isolation. Yet that state isn’t reality. Likewise, reality is cruel, harsh, isolating and painful. So the central crux of the series becomes, in the immortal words of Hamlet, “To be or not to be?” But NGE has the advantage of being able to juxtapose the two states, rather than relying on death being “the undiscovered country” from which nobody returns.
Shinji ultimately decides that it’s better to exist as an individual in reality than to “exist” in the comforting nothing of collective fantasy. But it’s one thing for him to come to this resolution inside that comforting fantasy (EoTV) itself, and it’s quite another thing to actually take that revelation out into reality and learn how to live. That’s one of the series’ greatest achievements as a work of philosophical art: that there is an immense, seemingly uncrossable chasm between the revelation and realization of certain truths, and one's ability to live them, and to Anno’s immense credit he doesn’t sugarcoat just how achingly, bleakly, overwhelmingly painful the aftermath of that decision to live is.
This fantasy/collectivity/death VS reality/individuality/life dichotomy is also found in the series’ metafictional, deconstructive aspects, as in how the persona of the characters is equated with the narrative of the series itself. Like Ingmar Bergman in Persona, Anno is one of the few writer/directors who were aware enough to make the metaphoric link between fiction as the lie that covers up the truth of the artist and an individual’s persona that covers up the truth of the person. But Anno is the only one I know that sought to exploit the audience’s desire to indulge in that “fantasy” by, first, establishing the fantasy through tradition, and then subverting and deconstructing that fantasy. He exposes the lie of the fiction at the same time he’s exposing the “lies” of his characters, getting to the core of their pain and where it converges with the pain that drove Anno to create the series.
One can almost imagine this relationship as a double cone. In the middle is where the core emotions, the events that shape the individual lies, and from that source springs the individual at one end and their expression, their “art,” at the other. It’s almost like trying to trace time back to the singularity. The closer we get to that gravitational infinity, the more condensed and violent the universe’s “genesis” seems to become. There’s a similar violence found in NGE at the places where the fictional world and persona of the characters break down, are ripped away, are penetrated as if in a rape (such as Asuka’s mind rape in ep. 22), and we begin to touch on the raw, exposed nerve of truth. It only makes sense that EoTV is the most extreme expression of that relationship, with the narrative laid bare at the same time the characters are baring their souls.
The rampant allusions to Genesis itself also relates strongly to Jung’s interpretation of the Book. He saw it as symbolic of the arise of consciousness in which man broke away from the collective unconsciousness of “God,” forcing themselves to live a life of painful hardship separated from each other (indeed, the “goal” of all the characters in NGE seems to be to escape back to the collectivity of “God” in the form of the mother). One could also read it through the more artistic rendering of William Blake, in that man’s origins were a perfect union of the fourfold individual (nature, emotion, intellect, creativity), and that unity was the “God” within man. It was only once one aspect broke away that we had both “the fall” and “the creation”. Indeed, EoE’s 3rd Impact and instrumentality faintly resembles Blake’s apocalypse in Jerusalem and The Four Zoas in reverse.
One way to sum up the importance of origins is what I stated in my very personal essay titled Evangelion: My Neon Genesis: “It is only appropriate that End of Evangelion ends not with an ending, but a beginning. The end reveals that NGE was not a journey towards a conclusion, but a journey towards a realization—towards the death of old paradigms and the rebirth of oneself and the world of reality around them. Moreover, it’s only logical that this rebirth is not depicted as a painless one, but one that produces arguably more pain and confusion than that which the previous state held—a rebirth that leaves the comfort of familiar ways behind to embrace the uncertainty of a new and frightening path not yet taken. But unlike that previous state, the rebirth holds one advantage, and I liken it to exiting hell to enter the maze in that now exists a hope that you can, of your own volition, find the light to guide your way out. It is also fitting that such an ending causes fits to those who demand resolution. But how appropriate is it that NGE begins with the familiar, and ends in a place that is so unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and dangerous to make us long for the comfort of that which came before?”
While I tend to avoid intentional criticism, it’s worth noting that Evangelion began its life after Anno’s disillusionment with anime, the Otaku subculture, if not the Japanese nation as a whole. The deconstruction of the mecha genre was, for him, his method of criticizing what he saw as “self-imposed autism” on those who escaped reality through the fantasy of anime, which he saw as nothing short of ego death. But what he ended up creating had implications for almost anyone that’s ever felt the need to escape the oppression of reality, even if they came to that need through completely different circumstances.
Anno had to recognize the irony of expressing this disillusionment through the medium of illusion itself. One of the more ambiguous lines in the film is Rei’s “reality is at the end of your dream, your dream is at the end of your reality.” Within the film, we can see this “meeting point” between polarized states in symbols such as the shore of the finale (again, the meeting place between death/origins and life/individuality), yet we can also see this from Anno’s perspective. Evangelion was his “art therapy” as some fans call it, his attempt to deal with his own depression and disillusionment; yet it was also an escape as well. By “expressing” this issue through a fictional medium, was Anno merely just putting off dealing with it in real life? Perhaps taken in this light, such themes are as much his message to himself, that now that the “fantasy” of Evangelion is over with, he has to learn how to actualize these personal revelations in his own life, as he won’t have the “comfort” of his artwork.
This is a theme that Anno explored arguably more thoroughly in his live-action film, Shiki-Jitsu, but it’s unlikely Anno will ever equal his achievement in Evangelion, both the series and film. It’s telling that I’ve written at least five (counting this one) lengthy reviews/essays on the series and film, yet I still don’t feel I’ve exhausted all of its substance. There’s always more there. At first one is tempted to try and summarize what it’s all about, but the deeper one looks, the more one realizes the multitudinous intricacies of those themes and expression. In the film alone it’s easy to overlook the serenely beautiful and quiet moments in the face of the earth-shattering apocalypse, the equally startling rebirth, the oft-infuriating lingering mysteries, and the scenes of shock value (Shinji masturbating over a comatose Asuka, eg)… Yet moments like Shinji’s SDAT player out of batteries, or Rei holding Gendo’s broken glasses, or Misato’s understated death, or Gendo’s reunion with Yui, or Yui as Eva 01 final elegiac farewell to humanity, add a tender poignancy to the proceedings that don’t rely on overwhelming scale or melodramatic sentimentality.
Ultimately, the deeper I looked into the series, the more I realized the need to analyze myself and why I was affected. After all, the enormous complex of allusions, symbols, and “loldeep” (as some of the more cynical Eva Geeks would say) themes would be meaningless without the passion that drives it and the deep connection that it’s forged with individuals who “get it.” But that “getting” is not an intellectual thing, but rather an emotional one. For those who have never been in a place in their life similar to the characters—that black abyss where, as I said in the above essay, it feels as if shadows are eating away at your soul—then it becomes very easy to disconnect from the series/film and criticize it for wallowing in “juvenile angst with meaningless references to Christian symbols and pop psychology/philosophy”. Those whom have connected with it deeply—some, like myself, so deeply that they’d proclaim it saved/changed their life—have inevitably been those that saw themselves reflected in the characters, who themselves were analogs to Anno’s self, as well as being his means to analyze that self (both patient and psychoanalyst, one might say).
In that sense, it’s always difficult for me to find an appropriate closing for these essays. I feel as if I’ve never said enough, that I’ve either generalized or specialized too much, and that I still haven’t penetrated that singularity infinity within myself that holds the truth of just why this series and film meant so much to me. Yet there’s not much one can do but to keep trying to express that experience through whatever medium one chooses. In that sense, trying to express the reaction one has to art in the form of criticism is little different than the art it criticizes. It’s ultimately just another mirrored cone representing how the truth of experience gets transformed through a medium into something that does, yet never quite perfectly, reflects that truth. Yet such efforts may be all the more truthful because of the lies that truth is covered in. After all, a thing never seems more essentially itself than when it’s contrasted with its opposite, and perhaps that sums up the relationship between art, artists, reality, and the audience’s relationship with all of them as a whole.
The more time that passes on the more I really regret not getting as many of the old IMDb threads properly archived. I'm not sure how many of my own old thoughts about NGE I still stand by (Hell just seeing Kare Kano made me completely rethink how the High School AU stuff in Ep. 26 is being played, to say nothing about how NGE relates to broader trends of mecha anime at the time. Remind me that I need to trick you into watching Ideon at some point, even though its a bad show), but it would be nice to have for the sake of comparison.Eva Yojimbo wrote:Well, it's about damn time! I don't know if even DA really has any idea just how much Rax and I have written about this series over the years. I had like 8k posts on EvaGeeks before I left, and Rax and I met on the IMDb NGE board. I wish we'd collected much of what we wrote in some digestible format, but as is it's spread out everywhere, and much is lost to the IMDaByss.
"All those who do not wish to deprive themselves of the great treasures that lie buried in the collective psyche will strive by every means possible to maintain their newly won connection with the primal source of life. Identification would seem to be the shortest road to this, for the dissolution of the persona in the collective psyche positively invites one to wed oneself with the abyss and blot out all memory in its embrace. This piece of mysticism is innate in all better men as the 'longing for the mother,' the nostalgia for the source from which we came."
I wrote a long review for that one back in my Cinelogue days:Derived Absurdity wrote:Inception - I don't know. Whatever. It was okay.
Our opinions on these films seem to be reversed: I liked Before Midnight the least of the trilogy, perhaps in part because I just felt the formula was starting to run out of steam. I also think that it was a bit of a mess tonally. The first film had that busting-at-the-seams youthful energy, the second had that somber, elegiac mood to it; but Midnight just seemed to vacillate between apathy and anger much of the time. Not that I couldn't imagine the relationship developing in that direction, but it still wasn't as compelling as the first two. But, yes, I do agree the fight scene was riveting stuff.Derived Absurdity wrote:Before Midnight .
You're harder on it than I was. Yes, Heavenly Creatures is much better, but The Lovely Bones, despite its silliness, is still a pretty imaginative film. I think I gave it a 7/10 IIRC.Derived Absurdity wrote:The Lovely Bones - wow, that was fucking stupid. I think I've seen it before? Idk. It's a piece of shit compared to Heavenly Creatures.
Lord_Lyndon wrote:Derived Absurdity wrote:This is the first Hitchcock I've seen btw. I don't know where to go next.
Try Rear Window (1954) and Vertigo (1958). I think those are his best.
To me, The Birds was always pretty simple to "decode," and may have been the most direct that Hitchcock ever was about a metaphor. Early on you have Hedron as the socialite hearing rumors about herself/her love life. Immediately after this, Taylor buys a pair of "lovebirds" in a cage. The implication is pretty immediate about how society tries to control/"cage" an instinctual emotion like love. So the film progresses and it turns out Mitch is another of Hitch's male leads who has mommy issues, though nowhere near as severe as in Psycho, or even Strangers On a Train or Notorious; but in all of these cases the idea is that because mothers are most men's first encounters with the opposite sex, that they have a profound, and often very damaging, effect on how men view women and relationships. Here, it's very much the "control" aspect that's important. The Birds attacking are clearly (IMO) metaphorical about how the violence that occurs when you try to control human instinct. In Hitch's other films, the violence that erupts from this attempted suppression of sexuality is literal (especially in Psycho), while in The Birds it's just carried out by a symbol for human's animalistic instincts/nature.Derived Absurdity wrote:The Birds (1963) -
I remember really enjoying this back in the days. I've caught bits and pieces on TV since then and I liked it just as much. A really interesting mix of genres, as you said.Derived Absurdity wrote:The Faculty (1998) - The Breakfast Club meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers. A match-up I didn't know the world needed. Also threw in some very heavy The Thing references. I approve of its pro-drug message. Doing drugs is good.
I remember very little about Chasing Amy, and being rather disappointed by Event Horizon. The latter just seemed like a pretty standard SF film until the very end, and then gruesome/hellish bit seemed almost anti-climactic... like the getting there didn't adequately pay off the getting there (I guess I find The Birds to be the opposite in this respect). The Ring was meh. The original was better, but not by a ton. I still think the best J-horror film I've seen is Audition. For some reason, I always think of a French film called The Ring Finger when people mention The Ring. That one's really stuck with me for some reason. I think I reviewed it on EvaGeeks back in the day...Derived Absurdity wrote:Chasing Amy -
Event Horizon -
The Ring (2002) -
The Apartment's great though it's been ages since I saw it. Not my favorite Wilder, but he has a lot of great ones. I think Raxi already linked you to my thoughts on Rear Window. It's a stone-cold masterpiece IMO that just gets better the more you watch it and analyze it. As Raxi said, RW as "metaphor for film" is a common interpretation, but I think you can expand it into a larger metaphor about epistemology and how we come to construct our views/interpretations of reality based on our limited perspectives.Derived Absurdity wrote:The Apartment (1960) - I liked it. Very good screenplay. Corporate satire mixed with mature romance. Jack Lemmon was great, he was mostly goofy and slapsticky with a side of melancholy and cynicism. It worked. Shirley MacLaine was also good. I stopped liking her character after she attempted suicide just because her boss didn't love her, though. You're not a teenager. Calm down.
Rear Window (1954) - ooooh I get it... it's all a METAPHOR!!
I think the reason I'm fairly confident about The Birds is simply because I see that same theme throughout Hitchcock. He was fascinated by psychology and especially the ways we tried to control human nature, especially sexuality, and all the psychoses that arose because of this.Derived Absurdity wrote:Yeah Event Horizon could have been a lot better but the premise was good. You also seem confident about The Birds's message but I still think it leaves room for interpretation.
Psycho (1960) - Can you believe I've managed to go through twenty-six years of life without knowing about either of this movie's twists. Well, now I know. I liked every part of it except the very end with the psychiatrist rambling on and on. That guy who played Norman Bates was great.
Vertigo (1958) -
North by Northwest (1959) - It was very fun. Cary Grant was good. That's all.
Strangers on a Train (1951) - It was also fun. What a goofy climax. I can comfortably say it's the weakest of all the Hitchcock I've seen so far, even though it was good.
The Twilight Zone (season 1) -
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